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Volume 13, Issue 4: Verbatim

Quotations on America, Her God, Her War, and Her Judgment

Various People

They've just draped the hideous Pilgrim Monument with red, white and blue lights, and the mist is coming in off the bay. I feel enormous sadness leaving this little place [Provincetown, Mass.], not least because it's far safer than where I'm headed; but also because its calm and eerie beauty has helped keep me and others sane these past couple of weeks. I do want to say, however, that this little town of such diversity and counter-culture has done itself proud. The memorials, the crowds, the gentle hugs on the street, the bonfires and tears, the flags jammed onto boats and trucks—they all showed that beneath our differences, some things endure. A drag-show benefit at the Atlantic House raised over $10,000 for the American Red Cross a few days ago. How's that for a symbol? My one deep hope is that through this awful conflict, we may relearn the importance of a citizenship and community that transcends our particular identity. And part of that started here.

Andrew Sullivan

The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, `You helped this happen.'

Jerry Falwell

Well I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda on the highest levels of our government.

Pat Robertson

The President believes that terrorists are responsible for these acts. He does not share those views, and believes that those remarks are inappropriate.

Ken Lisaius

Falwell was offering the classic Christian perspective that God judges nations as well as individuals. He made a mistake in tying this specific disaster to particular sins, implying that people who commit one sin are responsible for another. His timing was bad and his statement was wide open to distortion.

Marvin Olasky

There is no doubt that America has accommodated itself to so many sins that we should always fear God's judgment and expect that in due time that judgment will come. But we ought to be very careful about pointing to any circumstance or any specific tragedy and say that this thing has happened because this is God's direct punishment.

Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr.

The terrible tragedy that has befallen our nation, and indeed the entire global community, is the sad by-product of fanaticism. It has its roots in the same fanaticism that enables people like Jerry Falwell to preach hate against those who do not think, live, or love in the exact same way he does. The tragedies that have occurred this week did not occur because someone made God mad, as Mr. Falwell asserts. They occurred because of hate, pure and simple. It is time to move beyond a place of hate and to a place of healing. We hope that Mr. Falwell will apologize to the U.S. and world communities.

Lorri L. Jean

My statements on the "The 700 Club" on Thursday, September 14th, were called divisive by some whom I mentioned by name. I had no intention of being divisive. I was sharing my burden for revival in America on a Christian TV program, intending to speak to a Christian audience from a theological perspective about the need for national repentance.

In retrospect, I should have mentioned the national sins without mentioning the organizations and persons by name. . .
I was asking a Christian audience on a Christian TV program to claim II Chronicles 7:14 and repent. I was calling upon the Church to heed Proverbs 14:34, which says in paraphrase, "Living by God's principles promotes a nation to greatness; violating those principles brings a nation to shame." I was blaming no one but the terrorists for the terror, but I was chastising us, the Church, for a generation of departure from God. . . . My mistake on "The 700 Club" was doing this at the time I did it, on television, where a secular media and audience were also listening. And as I enumerated the sins of an unbelieving culture, because of very limited time on "The 700 Club," I failed to point the finger at a sleeping, prayerless, and carnal church. We believers must also acknowledge our sins, repent, and fast and pray for national revival.
Jerry Falwell

People For The American Way, as has been their custom in the past, has taken out of context remarks made by a guest on my program, "The 700 Club," and has given to the media a distorted view of the full context of the program.

Pat Robertson

Rev. Falwell's initial remarks were completely in accord with what had been said in preceding parts of the program, and then, unexpectedly, he uttered a political statement of blame directed at certain segments of the population that was severe and harsh in tone, and, frankly, not fully understood by the three hosts of "The 700 Club" who were watching Rev. Falwell on a monitor.

Pat Robertson

My remarks, if you meant what Mr. Falwell said, I think they're terribly inappropriate, and I didn't say them. They were said by a guest on my program. You know, it's a free country. I can't control my guests any more than you can control the guests on this program what they say. And, of course, it was inappropriate.

Pat Robertson

I hold no one other than the terrorists and the people and nations who have enabled and harbored them responsible for Tuesday's attacks on this nation. I sincerely regret that comments I made during a long theological discussion on a Christian television program yesterday were taken out of their context and reported, and that my thoughts—reduced to sound bites—have detracted from the spirit of this day of mourning.

Jerry Falwell

I made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret. I apologize that, during a week when everyone appropriately dropped all labels and no one was seen as liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, religious or secular, I singled out for blame certain groups of Americans. This was insensitive, uncalled for at the time, and unnecessary as part of the commentary on this destruction. The only label any of us needs in such a terrible time of crisis is that of "American" . . . . I do not know if the horrific events of September 11 are the judgment of God, but if they are, that judgment is on all of America—including me and all fellow sinners—and not on any particular group. My statements were understandably called divisive by some, including those whom I mentioned by name in the interview. This grieves me, as I had no intention of being divisive.

Jerry Falwell

This is the first major war in which the open visible presence of gay and lesbian Americans cannot be denied. Already, the military has suspended its discharges of homosexual service members, because in a war, we cannot afford the waste of resources such pointless persecution incurs. Openly gay soldiers will now fight for our freedom in a way never seen before. Now is not the time to argue for immediate changes in policy. We have a war to win. But it is a time to keep our eyes and ears open and see what these brave gay and lesbian warriors are all about. When and if this ends, we must remember them; and ensure that, when they return, they are not treated with contempt or ingratitude. The ban must not merely be suspended for the duration of this war. It must never be reinstated—and that must be a non-negotiable demand from all of us. . . .

For of all wars, this is surely one in which gay America can take a proud and central part. The men who have launched a war on this country see the freedom that gay people have here as one of the central reasons for their hatred. In their twisted perversion of Islam, these monsters believe that gay men and women deserve to be tortured and executed in hideous fashion. They murder and muzzle women; they despise and murder Jews; they demonize gays. We have rightly seen how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have destroyed themselves by their hatred in this moment—and we can take solace that America has repudiated their poison. But let us also remember that the men who committed this atrocity make Falwell and Robertson look mild in comparison. They are the Religious Ultra-Right, and they have already murdered us. Given the chance, they would wipe gay people from the face of the earth. To respond to that threat by cautioning peace or surrender or equivocation is to appease men who would destroy every last vestige of gay America if they could. Gay Americans should not merely support this war as a matter of patriotism and pride; they should support it because the enemy sees us as one of their first targets for destruction. These maniacs despise our freedom; they loathe our diversity; they have contempt for our culture. There is no gray here. There is simply a choice: to cower and run in fear of these monsters or to stand up with every other segment of this country—of every race and creed and gender and sexual orientation—and defeat these messengers of hate in the hope of a brighter, integrated day.
Andrew Sullivan

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